University of Minnesota

Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture announces 2014 laureates

March 27, 2014

Media Note: Photos of this year’s laureates can be downloaded at:

One of Minnesota’s best-known climatologists, the CEO of a large agricultural products company and a farmer who has played a key role in the state’s turfgrass industry are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture.

The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach); agribusiness; and production agriculture. This year’s winners are:

Mark Seeley (knowledge): Since 1978, Mark Seeley has been the go-to source for information about Minnesota’s weather and climate. As a professor in the university’s Department of Soil, Water and Climate and Extension Climatologist/Meteorologist, he has led numerous research projects, mentored and advised students, and is perhaps best known for his Extension and agricultural outreach work. In collaboration with the National Weather Service and Minnesota State Climatology Office, he has nurtured a Weather and Climate Education Extension Program which has reached all 87 Minnesota counties. He’s also a frequent guest on local and national media and makes many public appearances each year, many associated with his books and television documentary work.

Tom Rosen (agribusiness): As CEO of Rosen’s Diversified, Inc., he leads a multi-faceted, international agricultural products company best known for its meat processing, agricultural chemicals and companion animal products. Rosen’s Diversified, a family-owned, privately held company, is headquartered in Fairmont, Minn.He’s held volunteer leadership roles in the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Minnesota Agri-Growth.

Richard Magnusson (production agriculture): The Magnusson family farm produces grain crops such as soybeans, sunflowers, corn, and wheat and specialty seed crops on about 10,000 acres in northwestern Minnesota.  The family’s work to ensure the success of the grass seed industry includes the donation of 40 acres of land to the university to establish a research farm with an emphasis on grass and legume seed production, and turfgrass breeding. He led efforts to create a farmer-owned cooperative that works with the university to sell new crop varieties and has been active in local, state and national agriculture and civic groups, including the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association and the National Wheat Growers Association.

The 2014 Siehl Prize laureates will be honored at a ceremony in McNamara Alumni Center on the university campus on Thursday, May 22.  Their names were announced today as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Norman Borlaug’s birth.

The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, a dedicated philanthropist who had a lifelong interest in agricultural systems. Siehl was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated.  Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.

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